Thursday, July 01, 2010
Thoughts on Anniversaries, Healing, and Abundant Joy
Each year, on this day, it has been hard not to look back and think about the day as it unfolded six years ago. Each broad-ranging emotion, each action, each word as it was said to me, the look on each person’s face as I told them of my diagnosis. At times those memories sting with the poignancy of the moment as though it happened seconds ago. This year, only one year out of treatment from the recurrence, I find myself facing the day differently.

As 2009 came to a close, I dedicated 2010 to a new start. I needed to put the cancer in its appropriate place in my life – in the past. So I set off on a journey. I had physical side effects that were lingering from treatment and side effects from the hormone-suppressing medication I would be taking for five years. I was trying to heal, physically, emotionally, and spiritually and it led me on a wonderful path of mind body wellness and healing. I began to explore Reiki, yoga, meditation, Ayurveda, and it was all so much to absorb and understand what I needed in my life and how to incorporate as lasting changes. I spent a weekend at the Chopra Center to pull the pieces together and instead it changed my perceptions again.

I learned that meditation isn’t a nice thing to do from time to time, but is the foundation for mind body wellness. I learned that before I could ever begin to heal my body, I had to heal my heart. I had to let go of the pain and the feelings of failure as result of my diagnosis both times. I learned that instead of defensively closing my heart to protect it, I needed to open it to accept love and healing. And the rest would flow, with work, commitment to wellness, and the grace of God it would flow. And it has…

After two months of primordial sound meditation, I am already seeing improvements in feeling a bit more centered, a reduction to my slightly high heart rate, and general well being. I try to always choose colorful, healthy, fresh meals in Ayurvedic tradition. I rededicated myself to a fitness program that seems to be effective so far. My lymphedema issues have stabilized a bit for now. All positive. All moving forward. All blessings for body, mind, and spirit.

Looking back, I am reminded of the beautiful words of Hafiz:

The earth has disappeared beneath my feet,
Illusion fled from all my ecstasy.
Now like a radiant sky creature
God keeps opening.
God keeps opening
Inside of Me.

--Hafiz


In the beginning of this cancer journey, I refused to believe that I was so shallow that lowly cancer would change me. I was determined to disassociate myself with the people claiming that cancer changed their lives in positive ways. Cancer wasn't the catalyst for positive change. Cancer removed my illusions about life and in doing so allowed me to be more aware of the delicate nature of life. It has allowed me to recognize the abundant joys of life on a very different level than ever before. The adundant joys, however, came from somewhere far, far, far from ugly, destructive cancer.

The memories of this anniversary may always be bitter sweet, but I have a most grateful heart today. What more could I ask?

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Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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    "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12